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The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson
U.S. House of Representatives
2468 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Dear Representative Johnson:
On behalf of the more than 2.1 million members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), including more than 1.1 million health care workers, thank you for introducing the National Nurse Act of 2013 (H.R. 485). Creating the position of National Nurse for Public Health would strengthen efforts by nurses in every community to assist in initiating a nationwide shift to prevention to yield improved health outcomes. The National Nurse for Public Health’s support for the Surgeon General’s focus on prevention, developing nurses as community health advocates, and promoting professional nursing is key to the role nursing plays in our nation’s healthcare infrastructure.
The National Nurse Act of 2013 is of particular significance to our 85,000 registered nurses who work in multiple care settings, including public health nursing. The members of the Nurse Alliance Leadership Council, the governing body of SEIU’s nurse members, unanimously support this legislation.
Our nurses are on the frontlines of our healthcare system, and yet the severe nursing shortages our country is experiencing are projected to continue. By elevating the contributions of nurses and enhancing nursing recruitment and education throughout all communities, the National Nurse for Public Health would help address this crisis.
The U.S. currently ranks 19th worldwide in preventable deaths, and current estimates predict a 42% increase in chronic diseases. By promoting health awareness increasing health literacy, and reducing health disparities, the National Nurse for Public Health would play an important role in improving our nation’s health.
As the largest healthcare union in North America, SEIU commends you for your leadership, and urges other Members of Congress to co sponsor this important legislation.
Mary Kay Henry